The Ailey Extension , a beacon of dance and fitness for a diverse array of people in New York City and beyond, kicked off its 10th Anniversary celebration in April. The festivities continue in May with two special Mother’s Day Classes, a new West African Dance class, and more.
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As Maguette Camara seamlessly shifts between the front of the studio and to play drums that are clustered on the side, it's hard to tell where the musician leaves off and the dancer begins. He's instructing an advanced-beginner level West African class at The Ailey School in New York, and the intricate rhythms are proving challenging to the students - 30 pre-professional men and women.
Shake off winter while shakin' your whole body at choreographer Maguette Camara's open-level class. You may be standing in a lovely Ailey Extension dance studio, but Camara, who emigrated from Senegal, transports his class as he teaches the significance and meaning behind the dances.
My love of West African dance far exceeds my capabilities as a practitioner. No matter. Fifteen years had passed since my last class, and I was ready for another try. So one recent afternoon I wrapped a piece of African cloth around my waist and entered a packed studio at the Alvin Ailey extension center in Manhattan.